It’s not an easy road, but it can be very rewarding.
If I had to guess, I would say you are a creative person with a tinkering mindset. If you’re anything like me, you grew up taking apart gadgets and toys just to see how they work, only to be baffled by the intricate craftsmanship put into its design. If you’re anything like me, you couldn’t put the gadget back together the right way, or ended up losing important hardware components in the process.
Like me, you’re no fool and already know it’s not easy to become an expert in the field of electronics and robotics. It takes time, money, and a lot of passion to pick up the skill.
Not only that–there are so many resources available that pull you in all sorts of directions, and it can feel a bit overwhelming at times.
You have to start somewhere, though. If you don’t, you might look back and regret never taking the time or putting in the effort to learn how to create amazing things on your own. Things that interact with and share the world.
Putting in a little “sweat equity,” and pacing yourself can really pay off in the long run, making your journey very rewarding and satisfying. Being able to step back and look at something awesome that you designed is, in itself, very satisfying.
Who am I?
Hi, I’m Matt Coale, and I have a passion for robotics and electronics.
I have been independently studying electronic circuitry, microcontrollers, mechanics, and simple engineering since 2009, designing many projects–big and small–throughout my journey, and failing many times in the process. My goal is to help others on their journey to becoming fellow “Backyard Engineers.” To make your learning process something that was/is easier than mine.
Here are a few of the many things you will learn by following me:
- Designing homemade caterpillar tracks
- Cutting, welding, and shaping aluminum the easy way
- Choosing the correct material for the job
- Arduino projects
- Raspberry Pi projects
- Selecting the correct power source for your project
- Make it fun: planning out a project
- Selecting the proper microcontroller for the task
- Motor drivers, great and small
- Determine the correct DC motor(s) for your project
- Necessary workbench tools for the Backyard Engineer
- Get resources and basic training on coding microcontrollers
- Much more…
I’ve always had a passion for making and fixing gadgets.
We all start somewhere
My journey began at 10 years of age, back in 1997, when I explored the inner-workings of a Walkman.
Soon thereafter, I fixed a pair of Sony headphones my dad threw out. With a little bit of soldering know-how I picked up by watching a friend work on circuit boards, the headphones were soon good as new (the best part is my Dad let me keep them).
I was so confident with my abilities, a friend asked me to repair his shortwave radio. I have to admit, I had no idea what I was doing, except for finding an unattached wire that I soldered back in place. Good as new!
Those were all proud childhood moments, but for years thereafter, I still longed to know more about electricity and electronics. “How do
things work?” I would constantly ask myself. There was so much to learn, though. And back in the 1990’s we didn’t yet have Google or search engines (at least in the same capacity as nowadays). We would move around quite a bit, never settling. Thus, I was never really able to learn, but always dreamed of becoming an electronics guru.
Fast forward to 2009. I’m a mangy trucker in Clackamas Oregon, parked at Costco. I feel a void. An itch. I need a hobby; I need to exercise my creative juices. Whipping out my laptop to browse the internet on a faster than light 3G wireless card, I soon come across a reputable website that specializes in selling electronic and robotics kits. Creativity was stagnant, as I didn’t have room or time to work on hobbies in the back of a semi truck. There were so many cons to outweigh the pros, but something inside told me to purchase a couple robotics kits. So I did.
On my 1-day weekend, I returned home and put togethe
r my first rover bot. That’s when I fell back in love with electronics.
I’ve always had that “inner kid” inside me whose dreamed of creating cool gadgets and devices. Whether the gadgets or devices be toys or tools, I enjoy using my creativity to make them. I’ve designed this website to document and share my passion and dreams on the journey I call “Backyard Engineering.”
Whether you are an aspiring mechanical engineer, an inventor, or a certified nerd, this website is geared toward you. I have a bit of everything on here, and there are bound to be some tidbits anyone can walk away with.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything there is to know about engineering or electronics. If I did I’d be CEO of NASA right now.
I have, however, come a long way in my journey. I typically learn through trial, error, and a.lot.of.research. I look forward to hearing your feedback on how to better design, re-design, start from the drawing board, or simply just quit on my projects. Note: I would prefer you do it in a respectful manner, so as not to hurt my ego too much…). All joking aside, I do sincerely hope you are able to get the most out of this site as possible.